Furniture is an underrated but certainly not underused component of publication design. Helping to invoke certain emotions and create a consistent visual style, these individual design decisions have a much larger impact on our overall perception of the publication than we might realize. Cooking Light harnesses the power of furniture to create compelling and consistent flourishes that work to enhance the overall vibe of the magazine.
Section Opener (square outline) – Consistent throughout every section, this specific piece of furniture allows readers to associate a yellow square around bold text with the start of a new section. Not only is the color and size relatively consistent, but so is the square’s physical location on the page (most likely thanks to the established grid). Additionally, the section explainer, a short paragraph about what the reader can expect from the coming articles, is contained by a while outline box, always directly below the section title. These two box outlines, while extremely simplistic in nature, pair beautifully with the stunning photography also highlighted on each section opener. By leaving the fill transparent, the designers have created a template in which attention is still easily directed to the section headline, while not overpowering the beautiful imagery highlighted beneath.
Basic Side Bar (square outline and bar) – Most publications will utilize an alternative story form throughout their writing/designs in order to address some content that is relevant to the overarching piece, but might not quite fit in naturally on its own. Cooking Light regularly utilizes sidebars because it provides the author a way to add context to a recipe or suggest alternative methods while not disrupting the natural flow of the original recipe or story. These basic sidebars are always called out through the use of a black square outline, which encapsulates the text, and a little black bar, which rests directly above the text. Additionally, the unit as a while is always nestled to the side of the main content, creating enough variation in design that its separation from the main text is clear while not actually overwhelming the main article or recipe. By reusing the square outline, the designers of Cooking Light have cleverly created a visual motif that, through different implementations, tells the reader that certain information is set aside for certain reasons.
List/Side Bar with multiple components (square and divider squiggles) – Another side bar format not used as often is the listicle side bar, which utilizes the square
motif, but this time leaves it open to be either an outline or a filled in color depending on what works best with the remaining article elements. Within this sidebar, dividing
squiggle lines are used to create a clear differentiation between the pieces of content being discussed. This approach is interesting because it allows the secondary sidebar to evolve to the already existing hierarchy within the page. If there is already a main side bar utilizing the black outline, the secondary listicle side bar will be designed with a color fill, differentiating the two pieces of content. If not, then the listicle side bar is designed with the black square outline reminiscent of the main/basic side bar design.
Divider (squiggle lines) – Whenever there is content on a page that needs a clear visual division, a pink squiggle line is used as the separator. Used for all kinds of content from listed items to paragraphs, the squiggle helps organize and arrange content on the page.Compared to the other design aspects, a pink squiggle may seem out of character for Cooking Light, but due to its subtle and selective use, it actually works to bring an element of fun to the classical and refined design, which is very much reflective of their overall mission and publication style.
Reference (thin arrow or speech bubble with dot) – Often, throughout their pieces, the writers and designers of Cooking Light will want to visually reference an aspect of a photo. To do this, they use one of two methods, depending on how complex the photo is. One format is through the use of a thin pink arrow, which would direct the readers eye from a text block to the relevant part of the image. The other is a speech bubble, which would hold the text while pointing to the relevant part of the image. In both of these formats, a little pink circle is used to denote where the text is. While cleanly created and implemented, the use of bright pink works to add a sense of freshness to the page, especially when there are an excessive amount of references needed.
Listicle Story (thick arrow and bar) – Every once and a while, Cooking Light will deviate from its traditional story structure to create something that is innately list oriented. When this is the case, they will still start by following their typical story structure by using a headline, deck, and body paragraphs. One the introductions have been established, the designers have selected a thick pink arrow, which would contain the name of the list and a little bar that sits above the name, to denote the beginning of this special section within the article. Keeping in line with their bar and pink color, the arrow physically works to direct the reader to the content, which is especially important considering this format is breaking the usual structure of their articles.